When he woke up the day after the attack in Nice on Friday, July 15, at morning, Roger B. has discovered dozens of text messages on her mobile phone sent by concerned friends. He was not on the promenade des Anglais, and went to bed early on the evening of the national holiday.
After reassuring his loved ones, this nice 74 year old, ex-owner of a sauna in the north of Paris, is worried for his people. And especially for “Momo”, one of his closest friends.
It was him, his “Momo”
Without news of his hand, Roger has even contacted his ex-wife. In the course of the morning, watching the news, Roger has ended up making the approximation. The killer, the terrorist, the driver of the truck lunatic who had just killed over 80 people by crushing them on the promenade des Anglais it was him, her “Momo”. In front of police, heard on 16 July, Roger said :
“I first heard that it was a Tunisian of 31 years, father of 3 children, who lived to Pont Marie… and Then I heard his name. I fell out of the clouds”
Roger was one of the closest friends of the slayer of Nice, presented even as her lover by the press at the time of the facts. Interviewed at length by investigators, the man sentence to explain the drift of what he describes simply as “a very close friend”.
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“I was like, dad,”
Their encounter dates back to 2009. It is in a gym that the two men are first aware. At this time there Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel is still married with the mother of his three children, but the couple is drifting.
“I was like the dad,” says Roger. I was going home, I grondais. He was violent with his wife… no, he was violent at all.”
and Then the couple separates. Roger, who has savings, using “Momo” to install. He makes it work. Buys him a bed, furniture, a sofa, his computer and even ended up giving him his car. In 2012, it is he who finances a large part of its heavy goods vehicle licence by giving 2,000 euros…. Lahouaiej Bouhlel, small delivery driver in a lot of work, can now drive a big truck.
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“He asked me how we would pray”
so What is the exact nature of their relationship, seek to know the investigators ?
“people make the shortcuts a little faster,” explains the man who makes no mystery of his own homosexuality. “They do not think that we can be only friends. Yet this is the case.”
Roger B. has never doubted that his friend was radicalized. As most of the relations of Lahouaiej Bouhlel, it is described as non-practicing. He ate pork, drank alcohol, and “I’ve never seen him do ramadan.”
“a long time ago, he asked me to bring it in a church, because he wanted to make a prayer. He asked me how we would pray.”
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“I am Charlie”
After the attacks against Charlie Hebdo, the latter sends, for example, an SMS “I am Charlie”. During a discussion on youth political parties in Syria, Momo had told him : “It doesn’t matter, they will die there anyway.” But overall, Roger is forced to admit that his friend was cold, “without emotion.”
He still has not escaped that “Momo” was fascinated by death. The investigations describe him as a man obsessed by “sadistic violence”, “the extreme violence morbid” and addict “videos of beheadings released by Daech.”
Roger swears that he never saw coming. The survey shows, however, that a year before taking any action, Lahouaiej Bouhlel began to préméditer his acts. Photos dating back to the summer of 2015, found in his laptop, show a crowd gathered on the Promenade des Anglais. The man even takes a photo with the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, during a demonstration organised on the 30th of August in the city. In January 2016, it still takes a photo of an article in “Nice Matin” about a car barreling on a terrace. A short time before moving on to the act, he carries out the “selfies” on the Prom’. It provides information on the schedule of the fan zones.
“I think that certainly, he was able to stuff the skull with things like video, shows Roger. I think he has been able to do this also for the glory. He was able to say : ‘I’m going to have a disaster, we are going to talk about me.’”